Canberra are keen to back up an away win over Newcastle with victory in their first home NRL game of the season against Gold Coast.
Canberra are intent on reinforcing a morale-boosting away win with a strong first NRL home performance of the season on Sunday against a Gold Coast side smarting from a record spanking on their own turf.
The Titans are coming off a 42-12 drubbing by Wests Tigers, their biggest-ever home loss, while Canberra fans get their first chance to have a close-up assessment of the Raiders under new coach Ricky Stuart.
Notoriously bad travellers in recent years Canberra rebounded from a first-up away loss to Cronulla by winning at Newcastle, where Anthony Milford cut the home team to pieces.
“For sure, we need to back that win up this week, be strong at home,” Raiders prop Dane Tilse told AAP.
“We want to perform well here all year and the win last week doesn’t mean anything if we don’t build on it for this week.
“They are obviously coming off the back of a bad loss at home, so I’m sure the coach is going to have them revved up.
“They will definitely be putting in a lot better performance this week, so we’re going to have to play to the best of our ability.”
The Raiders have lost two key forwards,in Queensland and Test back rowers Josh Papalii (injured) and Shaun Fensom (suspended).
“It’s probably going to be hard to replace both, they are quality players, but we feel we are going to do well there,” Tilse said.
“We’re starting with Paul Vaughan, who is a great runner of the football for us, so he will be good early.
“And we’ve also got a workhorse in Matt McIlwrick on the bench.
“He’s a really strong defender and very fit.”
On the plus side, Queensland and Test forward David Shillington will make his first appearance of the season and his 100th in total for Canberra, after recovering from an ankle problem.
“That’s a massive bonus for us, a representative prop,” Tilse said.
“He’s really keen after missing the first two weeks, so he’s chomping at the bit.”
For the Titans, Brad Takairangi comes into the centres for Maurice Blair and Ashley Harrison will shift from the back row to five-eighth in the absence of regular No.6 Aidan Sezer (quad).
“We got it completely wrong on the weekend, we know that and we’ll be looking to make amends this week,” Harrison said.